Aesthetic Procedures: Timing Your Touch-Ups

If you want to keep your skin, face, and body looking their best, you may need a few procedures and touch-ups along the way. But how often should you have those touch-ups, and when should you schedule them?

This topic also qualifies for the title:  “We wish we had a nickel for every time this question is asked.”

It starts this way:   

  • “Doctor, I want to have a (fill in the blank)”
  • “How long will my results last?” 
  • “When should I have this done?

What Affects How Soon You Need a Touch-Up?

From nonsurgical med spa treatments to body contouring surgeries, we list some of the best ways to keep your look fresh and vibrant. We also recommend when you should schedule those treatments and how long you can expect results to last. But first, this message: All estimates are generalizations or averages! 

These are ballpark figures. Naturally, each of you is unique. The following factors all play a part in the results of any procedure:

  •  Age
  • Skin tone, elasticity, tissue quality
  • General health and diet
  • Fitness and exercise routine
  • Lifestyle habits (Are you a smoker? Do you drink alcohol?)
  • Will you follow directions?

To varying degrees, all of the above will play a role in your results. Now—some answers. We’ll start with the nonsurgical, often-repeated procedures.

Nonsurgical Med Spa Options

Do Every Day

  • Topical Treatments: These would include moisturizers, sunscreens, gentle exfoliants; things you apply to your skin surface.

Weekly or Every Few Weeks

  • Deeper Exfoliating: Remove dead skin cells and debris build-up with deeper exfoliants, including certain Retinol-containing products that have greater strength.

3 to 6 Month Intervals

  • BOTOX® Cosmetic and similar injections: Keep frown lines and crow’s feet away. Three to 6 months is the average length of effectiveness for these neuromodulators.

6 to 9 Month Intervals

  • Fillers: JUVÉDERM® and Restylane® are hyaluronic acid fillers that smooth out nasolabial folds, plump and shape the lips, and ease the signs of aging under the eyes.

9 to 12 Month Intervals

  • RADIESSE®: Also a “filler,” RADIESSE is made with calcium hydroxyapatite, a thicker substance in gel form. It is used to fill hollow cheek areas, nasolabial folds, and other signs of aging.

Annually (if appropriate)

Skin Resurfacing with chemical peels, dermabrasion, or lighter laser skin resurfacing. (*Depending on how deep or extensive the process.)

  • Light chemical peels: Peels such as Obagi’s Blue Peel, can be administered singly or in a series of several treatments to remove the upper layers of skin. This type of peel encourages new collagen production, improving elasticity and texture and addressing fine lines and discolorations.
  • IPL, intense pulsed-light treatments: This photofacial and similar light and laser treatments address sun damage, pigmentation, and skin redness. A series of visits are usually required, depending on your desired result.

Every 2 Years

  • JUVÉDERM VOLUMA®: This is the time frame used for Voluma, one of the new-generation products used as a filler, and billed as the longest-lasting. Voluma is used to fill hollows in the cheeks, as well as other areas of the face. As with all of the other fill products and muscle-relaxing injections, the results may vary between individual patients.


  • Phenol peel or other, heavier chemical peel.
  • Laser skin resurfacing that significantly removes upper layers of the skin.

Cosmetic Surgery Timelines

Because surgical procedures address much more than surface skin layers, results are much longer-lasting.

Facial Surgical Procedures

One Time – or repeat not sooner than 5 to 10 years

  •  Facelift, Brow Lift, Neck Lift, Blepharoplasty (eyelid lift): These are considered permanent procedures. In other words, you will always have the improvement you gained with your surgery.  But, of course, we all continue to age and change. After a period of years, it is possible to repeat these procedures- if necessary or desired.

Breast Procedures

Breast augmentation or Breast Lift will last years 

  • Breast Augmenation: Very often, breast augmentation is a one-time procedure. There is no expiration date on breast implants, and as long as there is no problem, there is no need to replace them. However, an implant may deflate at some point, or a patient may develop scar tissue around the implant that will change the shape and position of the breast. Sometimes, of course, patients simply decide they’d like to go larger, or smaller. These are all reasons for surgical revision, and replacement of the implants. In addition, with age, our tissue changes. Patients may note differences in their augmented breasts brought on by natural body changes, and want another surgical adjustment. It is not uncommon for patients who have had a breast augmentation in their 20s, to return a decade or more later, seeking a Breast Lift, implant replacement, etc.
  • Breast Lift: Similarly, breast lift results can be long-lasting; depending on the individual’s skin quality and tone. Patients usually have this procedure one time. Or, they may determine they wish to repeat after a period of years.


Usually one time or a permanent procedure.

  • Tummy Tuck: (one time) Again, most patients have one Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty).  Age, and weight change may eventually lead a patient to seek further abdominal revision, and/or Liposuction.
  •  Liposuction: (“permanent”) The word permanent is in quotes. Naturally, you will still be able to gain weight, but the fat removed through liposuction is not likely to reappear as much, in the areas treated.
  • Fat Transfer: (permanent) Fat removed through liposuction is injected into areas where a patient wants more fullness (very often, in the buttocks,). It is also often used facially to fill cheek hollows and deep creases.  When the fat is injected into the new area, some will resorb and not be noticeable. When the transferred fat stabilizes, within the first few months, it may well last a lifetime.

Something to remember when you’re considering any cosmetic procedure, and this is something I repeat to my Bay Area and San Jose cosmetic surgery patients on a regular basis: *Anything a plastic surgeon does, can be undone by a patient’s lifestyle choices. Cosmetic surgical procedures are adjuncts to—not substitutes for—a good, ongoing, diet, exercise, and skincare routine.  With that understood, it could be time to check your calendar, and plan for your next touch-up!

The board-certified plastic surgeons of Reveal Plastic Surgery are happy to discuss how you can reach your skincare, facial, and body contouring goals. You can request a consultation using our online form or call us at (408) 356-4241.

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